One day I hope to share my fiction writing with the world but I get scared of people reading my thoughts or my ideas. There’s been things going on internally for a while that I don’t talk to many about – so I am going to write quite a raw and honest piece and put it out there and hope for the best. I am sure some people will use it against me but if they are to do that then I know it’s not me that is at fault. So I take a deep breath, swallow my fear and………………….
I don’t often say this out loud as I don’t like it and I don’t know how I came to have it but – here’s the thing……to my closest, closest friends….I talk – I am apparently a talker – I will get told to pause for breath quite often.
I don’t really know how acquaintances or the general public see me.
One friend saw something in me that I would love to see in myself. His friend never got it until one evening we properly talked and he then said he could see it too. I asked what ‘it’ was – neither of them could ever define it – the closest they got was ‘Well we had to join a band to get what you have naturally.’ Still didn’t help me but it sounds super sweet. I just really wish I could glimpse ‘it’ even for a minute. Just to see how others can see me.
So…what am I going on about you might ask? Well it’s this……..for quite a few years now I have suffered from Social Anxiety. I struggle to use the telephone, I struggle to do anything social. Even before meeting friends I get wound up about whether I will have enough to say. I make plans and slowly I find myself cancelling them. As the date of whatever it is gets closer I start to freak out – I can feel myself feeling ill, I know inside it’s not really me feeling ill but it’s hard to fight against it. Fight or flight and it seems my body chooses flight.
I hate it. I used to be known as the girl that would always be up for going out. I started to get freaked out about being out in case I wasn’t good enough and I have found that very hard to let go of.
It started when I got into an abusive relationship. Every corner, every aspect of who I was this person tried to destroy. Mental abuse I now realise cuts far deeper than physical abuse. I think I could’ve handled a punch in the face – I would’ve walked away immediately from such a thing. Not to belittle anyone going through such things or having had such things happen – either is wrong I just think my life had taught me how to handle the more physical side of things.
During this time I started to get other health issues. These issues have left me with low energy, constant pain and discomfort and I get heart palpitations. None of this has helped me with the social phobias that were starting to develop. We’ve all heard the scenario of the abused lady shutting herself away and you wonder why she didn’t walk away or why her friends didn’t help her. I don’t know how I became that girl but you see how smart the orchestrators can be. My illness went on for a long time due to a couple of botched operations and sadly I found my illness starting to define me. I had such low iron levels I could only walk a few steps before I was exhausted, and that is no overreaction. If I did too much my heart would go mental – once or twice I really felt like I was going to have a heart attack. There were a few occasions where I collapsed; out cold on the floor due to sheer exhaustion and my heart and blood not being able to work hard enough to keep my body going.
Those times were the scariest of my life. I started to become really scared to go out due to the pain, the exhaustion and the fear of just collapsing – what if this happened in public? What would happen if I was amongst strangers when this happened?
Slowly I convinced myself I didn’t even want to be going out much anymore. I think that was the fear talking.
I find it hard to walk into a room of people. I’ve been told I can do this with enthusiasm but inside I am dying just a little. There are only a few people on the face of this earth where I can go and see and not feel in panic – who I know will cope if I freak out – my freak outs are silent – they make me a mini mute – but those few people can deal with it and because they can deal with it – it doesn’t really happen with them.
I want my life back. I want to find me again.
Obviously the me I was is not the me I am today.
It scares me. It freaks me out. I worry people won’t understand so I try to just avoid as much as I can instead, it’s easier that way. But it’s only easier in the short term.
Long term it’s left me feeling like a freak – it’s left me feeling really low. I doubt so much about myself when I have always been the first to tell people off for doubting who they are. I find I don’t want people to have to look at me, to deal with me, it’s horrible.
I don’t like to winge and whine so I tend to just not get involved rather than let people know what is going on – that takes trust and I am afraid my levels of trust are not high. It’s hard to open up and be vulnerable to people. It’s easier to turn down invites to go out for dinner than explain how it makes you feel. It’s easier to turn down invites to catch up or go out for a drink because when your heart goes funny it hurts and you don’t know if it is causing long term damage – you convince yourself your own discomfort is on show for the world to see and it makes you want to hide. So I stop talking, I retreat, I cry inside, I frown and get angry with myself. On the outside I probably don’t show a thing or make you think I just don’t want to know you. None of that is true. I love to be social able. Just these days it hurts. It’s like I go to talk but I get tongue tied by the fact I am so worried I will have nothing to say – I worry so much about that it makes me unable to say what I wanted to…….leaving me with nothing to say….stupid really isn’t it.
My nearest and dearest where surprised when I first talked to them about this. They said they had never seen evidence of this even when I was talking to new people. They felt I always seemed to be able to hold my own, that I had things to say, that I would be fun and people would have fun and I appeared to be enjoying myself. They didn’t know that inside I would be freaking out and that after the event I would be beating myself up internally in a really damaging way.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to go and see someone about this. It’s a big step for me as I have always wanted to ‘sort myself out.’ I now realise I am not invincible and that’s ok. It’s ok to ask for help and it takes a stronger person to admit that not all is ok.
Now I look around me, at the people in my life still and I am SO grateful and I know I probably need to talk to them a bit more honestly about just how bad things have gotten. For those around me that I have not really made the effort with yet – I am still stumped as to whether I should – I still can’t help but think if you didn’t take the time to find out what was wrong is it really worth me breaking my back to go through the social ups and downs that lie ahead of me? But on the flipside I remember the words of people saying that they had no idea that I felt this way and maybe they never even realised.
It’s time for me to stop being so mean to myself and it’s time for me to give other people a chance.
It’s hard for me to be so honest about this – I am the girl that always pretends life is fine. But I am deciding to be kinder to myself; to try to sort this out properly – one step at a time, not to rush it and not to hide. And now by saying it here I can deny it no longer.
I know that there are so many other people that feel the same way and that makes me feel sad. I wish the world could be a bit more forgiving – I wish people could have a bit more time to understand each other and not be so quick to judge or so quick to write something or someone off.
We are all too quick to judge but we don’t know what has been going on in someone’s life, we don’t know their story yet some seem happy to fill in the whole story without even bothering to read the blurb let alone venture into the first few chapters.
Seeing as it’s Treat Tuesday on my blog – I think you should all treat yourselves to being kinder to yourselves and try a little harder to look underneath the surface of a person and not to be so quick to judge. I think if we all did that the world would be an easier and nicer place.